Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Button Battle

I almost got whiplash in the car the other day, but it wasn't from a fender-bender. In the spring, after nearly 15 years, we got a new car. One of the perks has been free satellite radio for a spell. My 12-year-old son digs a channel called '40s Junction. That's to be expected since he plays the clarinet and is heavily into big band, but it can cause a problem in the early mornings when the grouchy family is crammed in the car being dropped off at places like work, summer camp or wherever. Mrs. LTL didn't particularly want to start her day listening to this one on my son's station...

She went for this one from a station called '60s on 6...

Fight. Fight. Oh, it was so on. Growling, each of them were tapping their stations on the screen, back and forth, and all I kept thinking as I heard a snippet of one and then the other was that this number was a big hit for Vic Damone in 1949, and the Doors has their most successful single with the other in 1969. Twenty years to get from Damone to Jim Morrison near the top of the pop chart. Mind blown. In three minutes I had an entire history lesson going on in my head as I raced through the significant changes our world witnessed in those two decades. What do you think? Has music ever had a 20-year metamorphosis like that since? This wasn't at all what I planned to write about today. Perhaps I'll have another post a little later.

Oh, and if you're scoring at home, Morrison won the day. Mrs. LTL was riding shotgun, and my son had to reach over from the back seat. War is rarely fair.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Better Living Through Adam's Adventures

Good day. Just a quick word in case you were thinking I was face down in a ditch somewhere. All is well. Bogged down a bit by life, that's all. All the more reason I'm filled with envy our pal Swiss Adam in the Bagging Area has become a full-fledged member of the jet set. How about those mesmerizing photos from Italy, eh? I'm sure we can expect more of the same when he returns from France too. Here are a couple I may not be able to sing along to, but I have been humming while thinking about Adam making the most of the season. It's a slap and a reminder we are all on the clock with this summer thing.

Madness - One Step Beyond (Italian Version)
Orange Juice - Poor Old Soul (French Version)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

That's Entertainment

I had a nice walk down memory lane today as I found a box of books in the garage that probably hadn't been opened since about four or five dwellings ago. Why do we hang on to these things? The book that stopped me in my tracks was 'The Jam: A Beat Concerto' by Paolo Hewitt. This was the first music book I ever bought not about either the Beach Boys or the Beatles, and I immediately flipped to a page I remembered vividly from reading it in my youth. There's a print of Paul Weller's report card from Sheerwater County Secondary School, circa 1971. His teachers and the administration didn't beat around the bush about his straight Cs or Ds in every subject. Here are a few keepers from the unanimous decision on Paul.

Senior master: "Settle down to work before it's too late."
Housemaster: "Must do better!"
Form Tutor: "This report is much worse than it ought to be for a boy of Paul's capabilities. His behaviour in class often leaves much to be desired. His work will not improve until his attitude does."
General Science Teacher: "Troublesome and destructive boy."

As a kid who was really hating school at the time of this purchase, you can see why I would have loved this page. You showed 'em, mate.

It's warm and sunny here, and I'm off to the hammock in the backyard to read and reminisce. Perhaps this post will sway you with your vote in the ICA World Cup final over at JC's place. Do you have a music book from your youth that has a special place in your heart?

That's Entertainment (demo from 'Snap!')
That's Entertainment (album track from 'Sound Affects')
That's Entertainment (live from 'Dig the New Breed')

Friday, July 13, 2018

New Jetstream Pony in the Chute

Indie-pop fans rejoice today as a slew of new releases hit the shelves. I couldn't be more excited about 'Self-Destruct Reality', the new white-marble five-track 12" EP by Jetstream Pony, out via Kleine Untergrund Schallplatten. You know I would go practically to the ends of the earth to pick up any record with Beth Arzy or Shaun Charman on it, and when they do something together, well, I would even order order it from Augsburg!

The band's debut single "Like You Less" b/w "Had Enough" was No. 7 on my Festive 50 of 2017, and that turned out to be just a little taster of things to come. One moment you're bobbing your head to polished power pop straight out of the Sugarplastic catalog, and the next you are staring at your shoes and reminiscing about the fuzz-filled days of Shop Assistants and Chin Chin.

Jetstream Pony belongs in the same breath as Aberdeen, Trembling Blue Stars, Luxembourg Signal, Lightning in a Twilight Hour, Wedding Present, Popguns, Fireworks and all of the other bands these indie-pop heroes have graced us with during most of our music listening lives. Don't you wish your résumé popped like that? Order 'Self-Destruct Reality' on Discogs or contact the label directly via email at kus-mail@gmx.de.

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Long and Winding Road

More than 2,000 miles in the car... and we didn't kill each other. You may recall this time last year the family went to Zion National Park in the southwest corner of Utah. We liked that excursion so much we renewed our annual America the Beautiful Pass and headed back to the Beehive State all of last week. Our ultimate destination was Moab, a quaint little tourist town perfectly situated between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks. There were memorable stops along the way but not a record store in sight. Probably best since vinyl would have melted in the stifling desert heat. I took a plethora of pics, and here is a small random selection to give you a taste of some of the most memorable hikes we've done. Believe me, these shots cannot do the scenery any sort of justice.

Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho

Snake River, Twin Falls, Idaho

Snake River, Twin Falls, Idaho

Turret Arch, Arches National Park

My youngest looking at North Window from under Turret Arch, Arches National Park

Delicate Arch, Arches National Park

Island in the Sky, Canyonlands National Park

Skyline Arch, Arches National Park

My boys playing under a small patch of shade at Sand Dune Arch, Arches National Park

Hiking from Sand Dune Arch, Arches National Park

Balanced Rock, Arches National Park

In a strange coincidence, when we returned, the boys wanted to rest and watch a movie. We chose 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade', completely forgetting the opening scene would take us right back to the very spot we had just visited. Steven Spielberg may have a little better eye than me.

This discovery may come as a surprise to you, but it's possible to get sick of listening to music. At one point, I probably controlled the car stereo for about 10 straight hours before needing silence. There was Chicago Cubs day baseball to break up the monotony almost every day and, fortunately, I had several 2018 releases to pass the time. Loving the Tracyanne & Danny album, probably my favorite of the year so far, and the new one from Gruff Rhys is just beautiful. Coastal Fever Rolling Blackouts will surely make my year-end list too. It was an album I hadn't listened to in ages, however, that really became my soundtrack. The sprawling and meandering 'All This Sounds Gas' from Preston School of Industry seemed to make the miles melt away. When this was released back in 2001, the album barely made any impression on the public. You're all wrong!

A Treasure @ Silver Bank (This Dynasty's for Real)
Encyclopedic Knowledge Of